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SISD special education teacher raises concerns about certification process

EL PASO, Texas-- A Socorro Independent School District special education teacher, Holli Yeager, spoke out at a school board meeting this week about the bilingual certification requirements that she claims make her feel discriminated against.

Yeager said on top of their daily job duties, teachers also have to study for the ESL certification to keep their jobs.

Yeager said her certification is due next year, but maintains she has not received the proper test support or training from the district.

“The pressure of getting certified, reading academies and the possibility of losing our jobs has put our mental and physical health at risk, because we don't know what the future holds for our students or our livelihoods,” said Yeager.

SISD Chief Academic Officer Lucia Borrego said that it is not a district requirement, but rather a state requirement and according to the Texas Education Code, teachers must either be bilingual or ESL certified to accommodate all students' needs.

She said if teachers do not pass the exam, the district will work to reassign them to areas that they are qualified to teach. Borrego added that this requirement has been the case for the district for about 3 years and that all other districts require the same.

She explained that the district holds Saturday sessions to help teachers with test-taking skills and that they plan to have additional trainings in the summer.

“It's the law, we don't have that choice, but the choice we do have is that we can support our teachers and we can help them and try to make it as easy a process as we possibly can,” said Borrego.

The state of Texas allows teachers to be put on a one-year waiver in order to study for the exam.

Borrego said once the teacher passes the exam, the district will reimburse them that cost. She added that not one teacher in SISD has lost their job because of not having the certification. 

Brianna Perez

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